News24

Explorers in CT before epic expedition

2011-11-02 10:38

Cape Town - Two Belgian polar explorers are in Cape Town before embarking on a 6 000km expedition in a barren part of Antarctica to research the impact of high density katabatic winds on the world's climate.

Dixie Dansercoer, 49, and medical student Sam Deltour, 26, will start their 100-day journey, dubbed Antarctic Ice, on November 04.

“With our expedition we can expose the importance of the southern ice mass as a crucial global climate regulator and even take it a bit further,” Deltour said in a statement released on Wednesday.

“We’ll take daily measurements on the ice which will show how katabatic winds actually circulate. These measurements are possible with mini-weather stations which will hang overnight on our secured kite lines. Each morning we will send the data via satellite telephone to the expedition headquarters back in Belgium.”

Katabatic winds carry high density air from a higher elevation down a slope under the force of gravity. They can rush down elevated slopes at hurricane speeds.

Dansercoer and Deltour will each pull identical sleds laden with camping equipment, food, kites, clothes and expedition material.

Their kites have been designed to use katabatic winds.

They hope to assist scientists with new insights concerning the effect of katabatic winds on global climate patterns.

This data will enable scientists to validate existing theoretical mathematical models.

They will eat a menu designed by a Belgian "vegetable chef".

Longest autonomous expedition

Antarctic Ice will be the longest autonomous expedition in the previously unexplored area of east Antarctica.

The barren area high upon the Antarctic Plateau averages around 3 000m above sea level and has a lowest recorded temperature of minus 89.2 degrees Celsius.

If the two are successful they will break the current world record of the longest autonomous and non-motorised expedition.

This record is held by the Norwegian adventurer Rune Gjeldnes, who five years ago completed 4 808km in 90 days, without any resupply during his expedition.

In 1998 Dansercoer and his partner Alain Hubert completed the longest autonomous expedition over the South Pole, covering 3 924km in 99 days.

Deltour was the first Belgian and youngest participant to reach the finish of both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in Alaska, two renowned sled dog races.

Two men will document their activities and polar environment using a 3D camera.